Perry and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who made a splash Friday when she visited the state fair, weren't listed. But their backers planned write-in campaigns that could outpace candidates who have spent months trying to line up supporters to participate.
The straw poll isn't a scientific poll at all; it amounts to a popularity contest and a test of organizational strength. Tickets to participate and vote in the event cost $30, though some campaigns picked up the tab for the tickets they distributed to their backers.
Poor showings usually force some candidates, mostly those who are not well-known and are struggling to raise money, to abandon their bids. That could happen this year, too.
The straw poll has a mixed record of predicting the outcome of the precinct caucuses.
In 2008, Romney won the straw poll, but the big news was the surprising second-place showing of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses, but dropped from the race soon after. Sen. John McCain, who eventually won the nomination, didn't compete in the straw poll and finished in 10th place.
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